I’m going to let you in on something that I did when I was very young, maybe six years of age. It’s not one of my proudest moments mind you, and honestly looking back on it I’m even quite ashamed of myself. Okay, here it comes. One afternoon, when I was out shopping with my parents in my hometown, I…ran away. I don’t even know what was going through my mind at that moment. I did something quite unique though. While some kids run away from home, I ran back to home! I knew exactly which bus to take in order to get back to my house and so my little six year old self went out into the world by himself. The joy was shortlived though as of course at that age I didn’t have a housekey yet, and so got stranded at the locked front door. My parents understandably were worried sick, and even the police went out looking for me. Eventually they found me back home, and I got an earful, and rightfully so. While I have luckily never had any feelings of wanting to run away from home, sadly yearly countless kids have other ideas. Abusive parents, drugs, or just a feeling of not belonging can all be the cause of this.
In the anime movie Weathering with you, the young highschooler Hodaka Morishima has also just run away from his rural hometown and his parents. Boarding a ferry that’s bound for Tokyo, he is determined to carve out a new life. During the trip, a severe rainstorm almost throws the young man overboard, but at the last second he is rescued by a man who introduces himself as Keisuke Suga. When the ferry at last reaches it’s destination, Suga gives the young man his business card and tells him to find him if he’s in need of a job. Hodaka however, stubbornly first sets out to forge his own path, but that’s easier said than done. The job hunting is fruitless, and soon his money runs dry. One night, sitting alone at a table at a mcdonalds, a kindhearted employee called Hina Amano takes pity on him, and offers him some free food. This fateful encounter will prove to be a turning point in his life. Hodaka eventually decides to go seek out Keisuke’s help after all. It turn out he runs an occult magazine, that is currently in the middle of investigating the unusual weather patterns. Day after day it keeps raining, with no end in sight. The only thing that might put a stop to it, is a legendary sunshine girl, who seemingly has the power to control the weather. Hodaka sets out to find this girl, who might be closer to him than he realises….
Weathering with you is yet another perfect example of why I love anime so very much. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, who was also responsible for the masterpiece Your Name, this film is a true work of art. From the very first opening seconds this movie is a feast for your eyes. The animation is absolutely breathtaking, and during several scenes I literally had goosebumps running all over me, because of the beauty that was shown in front of me. There are so many details in each frame that I think it will take several rewatches to catch them all, and even then that’s pretty doubtful. At times you simply forget that you are watching an animated film, and I can’t even imagine the amount of time and effort the creators have put into this movie to create such an amazing spectacle. But even if you have your animation side covered, you also need to deliver on the front of characters and storyline. Else this might be yet another case of the emperor’s new clothes so to speak. Luckily I can put any fears you might have had for that to rest as the movie succeeds on both counts. As with most of Makoto’s previous films, at the heart of this movie lies a romance story. And in order for such a thing to work, you have to have characters that you care about, and that have chemistry.
When we first get introduced to Hodaka, he seems to be the typical highschool kid, albeit one with a bit of a melancholy undertone. I liked his spirit, and determination to keep going, even if at one point he reaches rock bottom. Being an optimistic person myself, I definitely liked his attitude, and at the same time he’s also quite the hero if you ask me, a fact you will see for yourself when the movie progresses. As soon as Hina enters his life, and we as an audience lay eyes on her, you simply know that she is going to be important. Exactly how important I will leave for you to find out, but suffice it to say that she’s one heck of a trooper, and has a courage that most people can only dream of. Either way I loved the interaction between these two, as well as the fact that it never became this truly sappy or cringeworthy kind of romance that one sometimes sees. Both characters go and have gone through quite the hardships, and it’s once again proof of the fact that no matter what, one should always keep going. But let’s not forget Keisuke’s role in all this. He’s a bit on the shady side when we first meet him, and a bit hard to figure out what exactly makes him tick. Let’s just say there is more to him than you think, and he simply does have his heart in the right place.
This really is one of those character driven pieces, so this isn’t some kind of big action extravaganza. That doesn’t mean it’s boring though. In fact for it’s almost two hour runtime, I was totally immersed into the wonderful world this movie created. Sometimes you get films that really make you forget your surroundings, and those are the best kind. This movie certainly is one of those. While the weather in this movie is of course really unnatural, it also serves a bit as an eery parallel to what’s currently going on with our own climate. We can all act as if nothing is going on, but the fact of the matter is that we know better. In the end though this movie does a great job of creating a feel good atmosphere in the face of adversity. I really did like that message, as with the way things have gone during this year, I think we can all use that. Weathering with you is simply put an amazing animated feature, that shows how Japan is still on top when it comes to creating something truly extraordinary. It’s also one of those films that simply begs to be rewatched because of the truly spectacular animation style. The most important message though? Never lose hope, as there’s always someone out there who will have your back.
I give Weathering with you a 9 out of 10 score.